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The Culture Shock Challenge

Moving somewhere new is a great adventure! However, after the excitement of arriving drains, culture shock begins to set in. While the only real cure for this is time – there are some things you can do to help process the change!


A plate is placed before you. You try not too look horrified. Your new local friends beam with pride at introducing you to their local cuisine. You stare at the thing on the plate and try not to grimace. You realize that you are going to have to eat this. Even worse, you’re going to have to look like you enjoy it! To your surprise, you love it!

Daydreaming about your family’s Sunday dinners isn’t unusual when you move abroad. Adapting to new foods can be challenging – so here are some tips!

Image: tom
  • Try new things! – You will usually find that you like them. Sometimes you just need to grow a taste for a new dish, don’t give up – soon you’ll be looking forward to your meals!
  • Ask for cutlery! – If you find yourself in a restaurant unable to use the utensils, ask for a fork – it’s less embarrassing than dropping food all over the table!
  • Find shops selling food from home – With a little research you might be able to find a shop selling brands you know.
  • Pack your favorites – If there’s something you know you just can’t live without, think about dedicating it some suitcase space.
  • Post it – If you are truly desperate you can always get somebody to post it to you. Try to only do this with foods which won’t melt or go out of date – posting can take an incredibly long time!


  • Speak slowly – you can’t hear how strong your accent is so make everyone’s life easier and slow down the pace.
  • Avoid Irish phrases – a lot of phrases that Irish people interpret naturally make absolutely no sense if taken literally or if translated. So avoid using these with people unaccustomed to them. Eg. good craic, taking the piss, go away outta that, yer one…

    Image: JoBrad
  • Explain what you want – Irish people are notorious for hinting at what they want instead of saying it. This works with other Irish people who will automatically interpret your intentions correctly. However, people from other countries often become confused. If you want something you need to say it, it won’t be considered rude – it’s what they expect!
  • Don’t judge – we automatically assess people’s behavior, manners and word choice. When socializing with people from other cultures this is pointless. They might not be following the same etiquette rules you are – they may be mistranslating and if they are offending you, they probably don’t know it!
  • Take note – you’ll begin to notice what words/phrases/grammar people understand. Avoid saying things you have already learned causes confusion!

Final tip:

Culture shock works two ways – you’re going to have to readjust to being your old self once you return home!


31 thoughts on “The Culture Shock Challenge

  1. Culture shock can be a tough one to combat! Glad I came across your blog. We also love to move around and have experienced our fair share of culture shock in our travels. Sometimes it’s something we forget is going to happen until we’re there and it’s right in our face!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Eva,
    Great post. Especially love the part about actually telling people what you want. I can’t count the amount of times when I’ve had to actually come out and ask for things after some vague flooting about. Some things still feel awkward to me but we just have to accept that different cultures operate differently.
    Stay Beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I know the feeling! I had a few incidents where people actually asked me to explain what I wanted because I was being too vague! I also find going against habit awkward – I usually have to make a point of reminding myself not to do it! 🙂


  3. Hi Eva,
    This is a great article. Specially the communication part. I live in India – a country huge in size. So whenever I move somewhere within the country, I experience this all the time!

    Glad to have found your blog!


  4. These are wonderful things to keep in mind. I’ve never experienced culture shock. I’ve always been around many nationalities as well as their foods. But what you’ve pointed out, I really can see it and will keep it all in mind. Trying new foods can be the hardest when moving to an area that doesn’t have what you are used to. There is a big difference in food in America from one state to another!


    1. Thanks for commenting! You’re so lucky to always have had those experiences, when I moved abroad I really realised what I’d been missing! That is so true – I was really surprised by that when I was in America, it’s interesting how it changes so much from state to state – gives lots of variety! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kudos to you for jumping in and experiencing new things! I found this post really interesting, particularly Irish sayings (would be curious to see a whole post on those, actually), and the Irish manner of communicating. I haven’t travelled much, but this inspires me to ask myself what surprised me in my limited time abroad.


    1. Thanks so much! Ya I found it really interesting when I actually stopped to think about it too – I guess the sayings and methods of communication just make sense when you’ve spend your whole life hearing them but once you consider it from someone elses it’s totally different! Doing a whole post on that is a great idea – never thought of it! 🙂


  6. Love this! I have lived in 5 different countries, and I’m telling you, it knocks me off my feet everytime! One day you are walking around in sheer bliss, trying to soak up every possible detail, the next you find yourself wanting to tell the guy off (if you knew what words to use to do it) who is getting impatient with the fact that you can’t figure out which coin is going to pay for the groceries you just bought…as the people in line behind you seem to be staring through you. Here’s a quote I wrote about the joys of trying to learn a new language. 🙂

    “To learn a language you have to be willing to make a fool out of yourself, not have any idea why you made a fool of yourself, and then join in when everyone is laughing at you because you just made a fool of yourself.” 🙂


    1. Haha yes I’ve ran into the coin situation many times – I find I spend a lot of time apologizing for my confusion! A similar situation I find with changing countries is that I get the pin for my credit cards mixed up – this also really irritates the people behind you in the queue! :/ Love the quote – it’s so true – you just have to jump in and be comfortable with whatever mistakes you make! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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